By George Bremer
The Herald Bulletin
PENDLETON, Ind. —
The fact Monday’s Class 4A sectional semifinal will be remembered as a classic likely comes as little consolation for the Anderson baseball team today.
But, perhaps, with time, the Indians will come to appreciate their role in an expertly played high school contest.
Officially, Greenfield-Central won 2-0 on the strength of a seventh-inning home run by Ohio State-bound Curtiss Irving. But that note alone doesn’t begin to do justice to the duel Irving and Anderson’s Jerred Quartier engaged in during a game that took less than 90 minutes to complete.
Quartier allowed just one earned run, on four hits, and struck out eight. At one point, the Indians’ senior retired 16 straight Cougars.
Irving was just as strong, allowing only an infield single to Zach Sanderson and five walks to go with 10 strikeouts.
The fact one of these hurlers had to be saddled with a loss is just the cruel nature of an unforgiving game.
“He had a wonderful outing,” Anderson coach Terry Turner said, his eyes turning back to Quartier’s near-masterpiece. “The error opened the door a little bit, but still the kid hit the ball.”
Ah, the error.
Quartier allowed a two-out double to Irving in the first inning, then sat down every batter he faced until the top of the seventh.
That frame began with what appeared to be an innocent roller toward third base. But Indians sophomore Tony Bova sailed his throw over first baseman Drew Laughlin’s head — for the only miscue by either team — and allowed Greenfield-Central’s Adam Rains to move all the way around to second base.
Two pitches later, on an 0-1 count, Irving made it hurt.
The senior star hit a high line drive over the fence just to the left of straightaway center field to put the game’s only runs on the board. For good measure, Irving struck out the side in the bottom of the seventh.
“He didn’t dominate us until the last two innings,” Turner said. “I just didn’t think he was dominate, totally. I’m not sure what happened. I’ll have to go back and look at the pitch charts and see what happened. I thought, eventually, we’d get to him. But we didn’t.”
Five of Irving’s 10 strikeouts came in the final two innings, but Anderson had its chances early against the Cougars’ ace.
He walked Curtis Wilson and Quartier to lead off the first inning but got out of the jam with a strikeout, flyout and fielder’s choice.
The Indians had runners on first and second again in the third after a one-out walk to Wilson and a two-out free pass for Peyton Newsom, but Irving struck out the other three batters in the inning.
Anderson’s only other baserunners came on Sanderson’s two-out single in the fourth inning and Wilson’s third base on balls in the fifth.
It was the final game for seven Tribe seniors — Eddie Boner, Ethan Duncan, Jake Fox, Newsom, Sanderson, Evan Short and Wilson — whose legacy includes another 20-win season (Anderson finished 20-6) and the program’s first sectional title in 17 years last spring.
“It’s tough,” Turner said of wishing the class of 2013 farewell. “Curtis and Peyton have been here (on varsity) for four years, and Jake, Boner and Zach have all been around. It’s gonna be tough, but we’ll reload and go.”